9.22.2012

Movie Adaptations: Why the 'Potter-Way' Won't Always Work

Gone are the days when book covers are the only visual entrance to a book's synopsis. No, it isn't Rowling or Sparks who had set the trend, apparently, it is Lewis Caroll (Alice in Wonderland) and Frances Burnett (Little Princess) and other classical writers, who agreed on reaching the mass through literally visualizing their works, were the ones who gave the idea to the capitalists. Whether it can be rooted down to chivalry or it is really a sudden surge of the contemporary period, it simply roots down to the question: Who benefits more in movie adaptations? The author or the producer? But sure enough, the poor readers are losing something, in one way or another.

I remember reading a young adult novel entitled The Hero and the Crown, and I surely went on a very painstaking way of casting the characters in my mind. Not that I was inflicting an extra burden into what supposed to be a carefree work, but it was really inevitable. Even today, I have this habit of enumerating all the characters and jotting down their peculiar characteristics, and then ponder who can best play their role in my imagination (if the story is super good I place myself number one on the casting list!). But as film producers slowly steal this right away from every reader, one (especially me!) can't help but wish that the great wall of Copyright will suddenly spurt out between the world of books and the world of movies!

1. The movie adaptation will surely affect the story itself, directly or not.

I know you see this one coming.

It is so much given that there is a great puddle of reasons why Twilight have lots of haters, but I think Kristen Stewart is really the cherry on top. I admit that Bella Swan's character is somehow endearing, actually, I haven't found any characters that may come alike. But picking Kristen to play her role is simply a cold mistake. She literally slain half of the emotions Bella should have felt. The thing is, the only factor that holds Twilight is the sheer passion between Bella and Edward, and with a human "paper doll" playing the role, everything simply fluctuates. Poor Stephenie Meyer, she only wanted a lead character that will be so much like her...

2. A total misreading of characters.


One can convince himself that it is all for the improvement of the story, but no, there is nothing blonde about a brunette. With the knowledge that Annabeth Chase of Percy Jackson series is the demigod daughter of the goddess Athena (who happens to be symbolized by the moon sometimes) it is surprising to see a brunette playing the role. Moreover, I believe Rick Riordan have made it clear that the hair should have been white. But I do think Alexandria Daddario gave justification to her character, only that I think there are lots of blonde character in hollywood that could have done it well, too. I guess the producers really have a strong faith on Alexandria...

3. A total misreading of the story itself.


I myself first fell in love to Shane West before to Landon Carter, and it was really disappointing to realize that Warner Brothers did a total overhaul on the Nicholas Sparks' masterpiece. As a self-proclaimed artist, I really feel his pain, imagine receiving lots of commencement for scenes and dialogues you didn't actually write! As a reader, on the other hand (since I first watched the film before I realized it was a novel) it was tormenting to know that my favorite scenes aren't really part of the original story! So who am I to thank then?

4. Sometimes, reality won't simply suffice.


Christian Grey is hot; Ian Somerhalder is hot; therefore, Christian Grey can be Ian Somerhalder- but not quite actually. The word hot itself is ambiguous, so are people's interpretation of different fictional characters. what if I imagine Christian Grey as someone who wear specs? It could possibly lead me to despising the story since it didn't satisfy my fantasms, right? Novels are works of the imagination, and they are often meant to defy reality. Ian, I know you'll do good, but please, just stay on our bed.

However, I wouldn't ignore the fact that lots of movie adaptation did extremely well both on rejoicing the art of the author and promoting it for them. But I firmly believe a reader's mind is still the best director for such adaptations.

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